March 28, 2012
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Toni Young scored a season-high 27 points, Liz Donohoe added 20 points and 11 rebounds for her fourth straight double-double and Oklahoma State advanced to the finals of the Women's NIT for the first time by beating San Diego 73-57 on Wednesday night.
Attempting to win a championship at the end of a season marked by the death of coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna in a November plane crash, the Cowgirls (21-12) never trailed and were up by at least 13 throughout the second half.
Young made four straight shots to give Oklahoma State a 51-31 lead with 15 minutes left, and the Toreros (26-9) could never mount a comeback.
Morgan Woodrow led San Diego with 13 points and Dominique Conners scored 11 before leaving with an apparent left knee injury with just under 4 minutes remaining.
The Cowgirls will host the championship game Saturday against James Madison, which beat Syracuse earlier Wednesday night.
Tiffany Bias added 15 points and eight assists and Lindsey Keller pulled down 11 rebounds for Oklahoma State, which has outrebounded each of its postseason opponents and outscored each in the paint. They also matched their stingy defense from the previous four games, limiting San Diego to 29 percent shooting in the second half.
The Toreros made only 30 percent for the game while allowing OSU to make 52 percent.
Young came through with her biggest game since she had a career-high 34 points and 18 rebounds in the first round of last year's WNIT against Pepperdine. She injured her arm two days later when she came down wrong following a two-handed dunk in practice, and Oklahoma State was eliminated in its second-round game at Wyoming.
She filled a reserve role most of the year for the Cowgirls and averaged 10 points in the regular season. While starting all five WNIT games, she has averaged 19.8 points.
Young opened the game with a jumper and added a three-point play during a big opening spurt for Oklahoma State, finishing it off with a layup along the right side of the lane to make it 17-6 with just under 8 minutes elapsed.
San Diego quickly pulled within two following an 11-2 rally, only to have Oklahoma State turn it right back around.
Bias and Donohoe hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start a string of 10 straight Oklahoma State points, in the middle of a stretch when the Cowgirls hit six shots in a row. Young scored OSU's final three buckets of the first half on jumpers, extending the lead to 38-22.